Former Magazine Editor-in-Chief Talks Pot with Park Slope

Erin DeGregorio

Joe Dolce with his newly published book. (Brooklyn, New York) (Friday, November 11, 2016) / Photo: Erin DeGregorio

While shoppers meandered through the Park Slope Food Coop on Veterans Day, author Joe Dolce entertained a crowd on the second floor with a conversation about the myths, science and history behind cannabis.

As part of the coop’s Wordsprouts Reading Series to spark a discussion among locals, Dolce shared background information and his journey with the drug. His book Brave New Weed: Adventures into the Uncharted World of Cannabis was published in October, after three and a half years of researching, traveling and writing. He pitched the book idea to 12 different publishers before HarperCollins finally picked it up.

“My cousin started growing it in his garage and reintroduced me to weed. His new hobby changed my life,” said Dolce, who is not a stoner. “My entire life was in need of a rethink. I wanted to see if I could harness cannabis to suit me as an engaged, responsible, professional adult.”

In January 2014, he traveled to Denver to visit a man named Adam, whom he had met at the annual Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam two months earlier. Dolce inhaled a dab the size of rice kernel with Adam and a group of his cohorts; later he got violently sick at a restaurant.

“We sat down and I’m looking at the menu and literally the words were dancing off the page – I can’t focus on them at all, and then the floor starts like a boat in the waves, crashing. I could not feel the ground beneath me, and I knew this was not going to end well,” Dolce said at the beginning of the conversation. “The next day I started Googling around what happened. How did that happen? Cannabis is supposed to be anti-emetic, anti-nausea. I couldn’t find an answer. That’s when I knew I had a book, when I knew I had to go find out.”

He traveled 30,527 miles around the world to speak with experts, legal scholars, and chemists, so he could avoid using “flawed” information. Portions of the book delve into his visits to gardens and homemade hash-making labs, his time at Israel’s cannabis research lab, and his internship at a Denver dispensary.

Dolce, a member of the Park Slope Food Coop, believed the venue would be the most opportune place to debut his book.

“We are not educated consumers; prohibition makes you uneducated by definition. People and members of the coop are interested in the topic, health and high. They’re curious how to use it for pain and other conditions in life, like insomnia and maladies.”

While some used the event as an excuse to postpone food shopping for an hour, others were excited that cannabis could be openly talked about with somebody like Dolce.

“This was a good education topic since young people don’t know the effects or what’s behind the buzz and what’s behind trying it,” one member in the audience told NYCity News Service.